Who’s the baddy?

It’s been a bit quiet over here in the dust lounge, I do humbly apologise. A combination of the day job attempting to delve its nasty little fingers across the work-life balance scales, and fitting in the final-pass edits on Grind Spark have pretty much flung me off the radar.

But I’m back today and this time I’m just gonna go ahead and not talk about badgers or party-squirrels or ducks that have gotten high snorting a dodgy batch of breadcrumbs. I mean, there were these stoner sheep, now we’re thinking about it… but I’m not gonna talk about that.

Instead, we’re talking little plans and villains.

Last week, I made a little plan. It goes something like:

  1. Get advance reader copies of Grind Spark out.
  2. Do more writing.
  3. Skill up (by which I mean, get those mad skillz working some heavy weights and building up some beefy muscle lumps) in the ol’ design fields.
  4. Do some more writing.
  5. Eat some cheese…
  6. … concentrate…
  7. … ah, I do like cheese…
  8. Keep making – words or pictures or beautiful (terrible) harmonica music – just keep at it.

As you can see, the plan might need refining slightly, but the general gist is there.

So, I was working on lucky item number 3, messing about in picture-land. And after a while I realised that I’d come out with a picture of a guy with a comb-over and he was giving me the creeps. And I was looking at him and wondering why and I’m just left with, well, a realisation that the combination of sunglasses and comb-overs gives me a bad case of the heeby-jeebies. I’m not saying y’all evil, those of you with the windswept sun-drenched look, but if I’m writing a villain that’s what you’ve got; round sunglasses and wispy hair covering a few liver spots.

Killer comb-over

Which got me to thinking – in our heads we all have an idea of a classic character trait for a villain. And before you say it – yes, I know, the best villains are never purely evil (and the best good guys are normally messed up somewhere along the line too) – but if we’re boiling down your instant-villain-reflex, there’s normally something you hinge on. Whether that’s an eye patch, a clown suit, a comb-over, an English accent or a penchant for the finest of wines, there’s something that if we see it we’re already putting batman on speed dial and backing away.

So, what’s the villain trait for you? What’s the trait you give your characters that sends the chills up and down your neck? If you were a villain (or perhaps you are), what would be the thing you’d do/have that would make you think you were just about the coolest goddamn villain on the block?

Check in at the comments below or over on Twitter. I want your darkest and most villainous affectations.

Because, sometimes, evil is weird. Sometimes evil is fun. And sometimes, your evil is my pussy cat. (If you’ve met the Beast, then that would actually be most of the time).

Grind Spark – out now

Longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014, Grind spark is a near-future dystopian novel about growing up in the years leading up to the end of the world. It’s about pretending to be the perfect family. It’s about whether you want to survive. Treat your eye portals. Pick up your copy here.

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